Artist Review: Betsy

‘From the opening notes to the final ones it is just beautiful.’

Intro to Betsy:
It’s safe to say that Betsy had a far from average journey to her performance on BBC Introducing, however after growing up in Wales and working for a high-fashion company in France, she seems to have found her calling. Unbelievably this somewhat varied route into the music scene also included a time where she wouldn’t even listen back to her own tracks. In my opinion though there was no need to worry as with great production and a voice resembling Cher, goosebump moments happen across of Betsy’s tracks. Take ‘Lost and Found’ – which certainly has more than a touch of Emeli Sandé’s Heaven about it – as a prime example. This track, with its celebratory feel, could well reflect Besty feeling lost before finding music and for the sheer power within it alone, the emotion felt can’t be ignored. Amazingly, it would seem that the same level of emotion can be felt whether it be a full on track or – as was the case for Betsy’s showcase track ‘Fair’ – a more reserved one.

Featured Track: Fair
Before I start, it’s worth pointing out that while I thought the showcased track, ‘Fair’ was the newest of Betsy’s tracks, in listening to her other music I discovered it was actually produced over a year ago with much more of a dance based feel to it. This said, my review will focus on the version that introduced me to Betsy, which you can listen to here.

To say that the opening to Betsy’s live version of Fair is dreamlike in its orchestration would be a huge understatement, and this is certainly not a bad thing as what this does is allow Betsy’s voice to, in both a metaphorical and literal senses, do the talking. Maybe I’m wrong, but there doesn’t seem to be much music, certainly not in the mainstream, that focuses on an almost classical setting like this does. From the opening notes to the final ones it is just beautiful.

The introduction to the track sets up a slightly uneasy and certainly slightly eery atmosphere which allows Betsy’s voice to take centre stage. The way that her voice, with its carefully controlled raspiness soars over the accompanying string quartet and piano, seems almost juxtaposed and potentially reflective of how Betsy may have felt at the early stages of her career. Even if this is not the case, for some reason – and to be honest I’m not sure how or why – it completely works.

As the track progresses, edging closer to the middle section, the accompaniment helps to gently build the emotion along with a vocal sample and as we reach the middle, synth parts and backing vocals combine hinting that a dance track is in there. Thankfully though, in my opinion, it doesn’t turn into the full-on version I discovered in my research and instead a return to the opening setting of vocals, strings and piano guides you to the end. I dare you not to be captivated.

Click here to find more of Betsy’s music and listen to the tracks mentioned.

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